UK supermarket chiefs are preparing for “empty shelves and riots” as the prime minister has announced coronavirus is “highly likely” to accelerate within days.
A former Tesco executive, Bruno Monteyne gave a stark warning that a major outbreak of the virus will lead to “empty shelves and riots.”
Monteyne said, “If a major coronavirus outbreak happens, that will quickly lead to panic buying, empty shelves and food riots.
“Plans are surely being drawn up with suppliers to rationalise product ranges when necessary.”
British supermarkets are struggling to keep up with demand as shoppers are stocking up on food and other items for fear of being quarantined for many months as the virus outbreak is getting worse.
Ged Futter, a former senior buyer at Asda, said supermarkets are very reluctant to admit to any food shortages for fear of making matters worse.
Futter said, “As soon as you mention rationing it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and the food equivalent of a run on the banks.”
British Retail Consortium director of food and sustainability Andrew Opie said, “Retailers are working closely with their suppliers and monitoring consumer behaviour to anticipate changes in future demand.”
Discount supermarket store Lidl has warned that they are “experiencing a significant increase in demand for durable products or disinfectants.”
A spokeswoman for Lidl said, “We are doing everything we can to ensure the food supply and we have increased deliveries to our branches.”
Ocado the online supermarket emailed their customers saying, “We want to let you know that we’re experiencing exceptionally high demand at the moment.
“More people than usual seem to be placing particularly large orders.
“As a result, delivery slots are selling out quicker than expected.”
Boots the pharmacy has seen an influx of customers buying alcohol hand gels and face masks, many stores are now sold out.